Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women” once said, “Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes.” This sentiment is reflected in the following modern Chinese saying:
Āiqíng bùnéng dāng miànbāo.
Love cannot serve as bread.
钱 (qián) is money. 有 (yǒu) means “to have”. 有钱 (yǒuqián) means “to be rich”.
He is rich.)
Yǒuqián rén zhù dà fángzi.
Rich people live in large houses.
Yǒuqián néng shǐ guǐ tuī mò.
If you’re rich, you could make the devil turn your millstones. (Money talks.)
Following is a way to ask for confirmation of a statement.
VI. c) Statement + “Yes or no?” or “Correct or not?” = Question
Tā yǒu hěn duō qián, shìbùshì?
He has a lot of money; yes or no?
Nĭ shì Měiguórén, duì bùduì?
You are an American, right or not?
Some people drop the last word from the above question format. For example:
Nĭ shì Zhōngguórén, duì bù?
You are a Chinese, correct?
If someone is not rich, then you would say:
Tā méiyǒu qián.
没有 (méiyǒu not to have) is the negation of 有 (yǒu). These two words also serve as auxiliary verbs to help form the past or perfect tense of other verbs. 没有 is oftened abbreviated as 没 (méi).
Generally, to form the negation of an adjective or other verbs, you would add the word 不 (bù no, not). For example:
他不高興. (Tā bù gāoxìng.) He is not pleased.
他不是. (Tā bùshì.) He is not.
他不喜欢. (Tā bù xǐhuān.) He does not like.
他不去. (Tā bù qù.) He won’t go.
Now, what does the following sentence mean?
他没有去. (Tā méiyǒu qù.)
It means: “He did not go.” Here, 没有 (méiyǒu have not) is used as an auxiliary verb to indicate that the action did not take place, or has not taken place.
Try and apply 不 (bù no, not) and 没 (méi have not) to the following action words, and make sure you fully understand the difference between these two terms.
走 (zǒu go, walk), 回家 (huíjiā go home), 做 (zuò do), 打球 (dǎqiú hit/play ball), 改 (gǎi change).
We are now ready to talk about another method you could use for forming a question.
VI. d) Add negation to a verb or an adjective to change a statement into a question.
The Chinese convey the uncertainty expressed through the use of “whether or not” by pairing the verb or adjective with its negation. For example,
Tā yǒu méiyǒu qián?
Is he rich?
Nĭ shì bù shì Měiguórénì?
Are you an American?
Tā gāoxìng bù gāoxìng?
Is he pleased?
You may add the interrogative particle 呢 (ne) at the end of this type of questions. Also, in such a question format, the first occurrence of a polysyllable word will often be represented by just the first character in the word. For example:
Tā gāo bù gāoxìng?
Is he pleased?
Tā zhī bù zhīdào ne?
Does he know?
If an auxiliary verb is used, then the negation is applied to the auxiliary verb rather than the main verb. For example:
Tā huìbùhuì shēngqì?
Will he get angry?
Nĭ yào bù yào dǎqiú?
Would you like to play ball?
Tā yǒu méiyǒu qù?
Did he go?
Yǒu méiyǒu xiàyǔ?
Did it rain?
Questions in the perfect tense can also be phrased as follows. In this case, do not add any interrogative particle at the end.
Tā qù le mé?
Has he gone?
Xiàyǔ le méi?
Has it begun to rain?